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MISCELLANEOUS CUSTOMS

A SEAMAN LEAVING THE FORECASTLE TO GO AFT, EITHER FOR HIS TRICK AT
THE WHEEL OR OTHER WORK, GOES AFT ALONG THE LEESIDE OF THE VESSEL,
UNLESS HIS IMMEDIATE DUTY LIES TO THE WINDWARD.
A SEAMAN SUMMONED TO THE CAPTAIN'S CABIN REMOVED HIS CAP AND
DROPPED IT TO THE DECK JUST OUTSIDE THE DOOR.
A MARINER ENTERING A NEW SHIP, OR EVEN AN OLD SHIP, FOR THE FIRST
TIME MAKES CERTAIN THAT HIS RIGHT FOOT IS THE FIRST TO TOUCH THE
DECK.
IT WAS A BREECH OF ETIQUETTE FOR A SEAMAN TO LOCK HIS SEA CHEST
WHILE ON BOARD HIS SHIP. OFFENDERS OFTEN FOUND, WHEN THEY
RETURNED TO THE FORECASTLE FROM THEIR WATCH ON DECK, THAT THE
COVER HAD BEEN NAILED DOWN.
IN THE BRITISH AND UNITED STATES NAVIES, A SCARF OF BLACK SILK IS
WORN, ORIGINALLY AS A MARK OF WARNING (MOURNING?) FOR THE DEATH
OF LORD NELSON.
IN THE ROYAL NAVY, OFFICERS WHO HAVE BEEN ROUND EITHER THE CAPE
OF GOOD HOPE OR CAPE HORN MAY PUT ONE FOOT ON THE WARDROOM TABLE;
BOTH CAPES CARRY THE RIGHT TO PUT BOTH FEET ON THE TABLE.
BY NAVAL CUSTOM THE SENIOR OFFICER PRESENT IS ALWAYS THE LAST
INTO A BOAT AND THE FIRST OUT OF IT.

Submitter comment:

CAPTAIN LUMAS SAYS THAT HE HAS LEARNED THESE CUSTOMS THROUGH THE
YEARS THAT HE HAS BEEN SAILING, BOTH IN THE U.S. NAVY AND UP AT
MACKINAW ISLAND.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MACKINAW ISLAND

Keyword(s): British ; Captain ; Etiquette ; Language ; Lingo ; Naval ; Navy ; POSITION ; Seaman ; Ship ; Uniform ; United States

James Callow Keyword(s): DIRECTION ; LEFT ; POSITION ; RIGHT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Work Commerce Business
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F535
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Maturity
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Dress Overall body coverUpper body and arms
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Number Last events: the last person to the table...
SPEECH -- Gesture

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JOCKEY HOLLOW, NEW JERSEY

AT THIS PLACE, THE REVOLUTIONARY ARMY UNDER WASHINGTON SPENT A
BITTER WINTER HERE. THE WINTER WAS SUPPOSED TO BE WORSE THAN THE
ONE AT VALLEY FORGE. THERE IS SUPPOSED TO BE A LEGEND THAT THE
HOLLOW IS HAUNTED BECAUSE ALL OF THE MEN IN THE HOSPITAL DIED AND
THEIR SPIRITS GUARD THE HOLLOW. ALSO, EVERY FEBRUARY 5, SOMEONE
IS SUPPOSED TO BE KILLED THERE.

Submitter comment: LEROY LEARNED THIS WHILE VACATIONING NEAR THE HOLLOW.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- February 5
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F535
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

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DEATH

YOU NEVER HAVE A WAKE WHEN SOMEONE DIES OR THAT PERSON
WILL HAUNT YOU.

Submitter comment: HE CONSIDERS THIS A MALTESE BELIEF.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): WAKE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter

Date learned: 03-21-1975

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WAKES

YOU HAVE A WAKE WHEN SOMEONE DIES TO WISH THEM LUCK ON THEIR WAY.

Where learned: HOME ; SCHOOL ; MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: CA1963-1975

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SECOND LINE

THIS IS AN INSTRUMENTAL. THE MUSIC GIVES THE IMPRESSION
OF A SNAPPY MARCH.

Submitter comment: THE 'SECOND LINE ' IS NOT ONLY A SONG, BUT A DANCE OR STRUT.
IT IS VERY POPULAR AMONG BLACKS IN NEW ORLEANS. THIS STRUT
IS NOT ONLY PERFORMED DURING THE MARDI GRAS SEASON, IT IS
PERFORMED AT THE END OF LAMOST EVERY DANCE, WHITE OR BALCK.
WHEN YOU HEAR THE BLAST OF THE TRUMPETS, IT IS LIKE CALLING
ALL THE PEOPLE TO THE DANCE FLOOR. YOUNG AND OLD ALIKE
CANNOT BEAR TO SIT WHILE THIS TUNE IS PLAYING.
IT IS ALWAYS THE LAST DANCE OF THE BALL. THE SECOND
LINE TUNE IS ALSO PLAYED AFTER A JAZZ FUNERAL, BUT THEY
USUALLY REMEMBER THE SONG 'WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN.'
ON MARDI GRAS DAY YOU WILL SEE THE INDIANS DOING THE
'SECOND LINE DANCE' TO THEIR CHANTS AND TO THE MUSIC THAT
THEY MAKE.
THE TUNE ITSELF CAN BE PLAYED AT A RELATIVELY SLOW TEMPO FOR
THE PRESENTATIONS OF THE MEMBERS OF THE CLUB GIVING
THE BALL. THE TEMPO IS QUICKENED FOR THE FINALAE OF THE BALL.
THE SECOND LINE DANCE IS KNOWN BY MANY WHITES IN NEW ORLEANS,
BUT IT IS BASICALLY A TRADITION OF THE BLACKS THERE.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

James Callow Keyword(s): INTERRACIALISM, NOT RACISM

Subject headings: 663 Mardi Gras
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Dance
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Festival C436.663
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Music
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 02-11-1975

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BURIAL CUSTOM

JUST BEFORE A PERSON'S CASKET IS CLOSED TWENTY-FIVE CENTS IS PLACED
IN HIS POCKET SO THAT HE WILL HAVE THE MONEY TO CROSS THE BRIDGE
AND ENTER HEAVEN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): MONEY

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 00001930S

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STORM BELIEF

NEVER CARRY A METAL OBJECT WHEN IT THUNDERS.

Submitter comment:

INFORMANT KNEW A MAN IN POLAND WHO WAS HOLDING A BIG SICKLE
AND HAD A NEEDLE IN HIS CAP WHILE IT WAS STRUCK BY THE LIGHTNING
AND THUNDERING. THE MAN GOT STRUCK BY THE LIGHTNING AND WAS
KILLED. MY FATHER SAW THE CORPSE AS IT WAS PULLED BY.
(IN POLAND, 1915-1920).

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Lightning Thunder
BELIEF -- Weather sign or control P890.222

Date learned: 11-19-1971

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STORM PROTECTION BELIEF

YOU MUST NEVER TAKE A BATH OR WASH YOUR HAIR DURING A THUNDER
AND LIGHTNING STORM LEST LIGHTNING STRIKE YOUR HOME, AND YOU WILL
BE ELECTROCUTED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hair, on head, mustache, widow's peak
BELIEF -- Lightning Thunder
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Weather sign or control P890.7

Date learned: 02-15-1970

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SNEEZING BELIEF

SNEEZING TWICE IN THE NIGHT FOR THREE SUCCESSIVE NIGHTS WAS A SIGN
OF DEATH IN THE HOUSE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALLEN PARK

Subject headings: 686 Seconds / Twice / Two
686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

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BUTTON BELIEF

YOU SHOULD NOT SEW A BUTTON ON YOUR OWN GARMENTS (ON YOUR BODY)
UNLESS YOU ARE CHEWING SOMETHING.

Submitter comment: THE REASON IS THAT YOU SEW THINGS ON DEAD PEOPLE. A JEWISH
CUSTOM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 04-00-1968

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SUPERSTITION

NOTHING SHOULD BE BOUGHT FOR A BABY BEFORE IT IS BORN,
OR IT WILL CAUSE IT TO BE DEAD OR BADLY DEFORMED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Number Emptiness, nothingness, zero

Date learned: 11-02-1969

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BIRTH BELIEF

IF AN EXPECTANT MOTHER GOES TO A FUNERAL, AND LOOKS IN THE
COFFIN THE CHILD WILL NEVER HAVE ENOUGH TO EAT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
Food Drink -- Food
BELIEF -- Birth

Date learned: 12-00-1971

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WHO BECOMES A VAMPIRE

DEAD PEOPLE NOT BURIED WITHIN 5 DAYS WILL BECOME A VAMPIRE.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: ENGLAND ; WORCESTER

Keyword(s): SUPERNATURAL ; SUPERSTITION ; Undead ; Vampire

James Callow Keyword(s): NUMBER ; TRANSFORMATION

Subject headings: 686 Fifths
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Werewolf Vampire

Date learned: 04-00-1972

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WHO BECOMES A VAMPIRE

UNBAPTISED PEOPLE BURIED IN UNHALLOWED GROUND WILL BECOME VAMPIRES.

Where learned: ENGLAND ; WORCESTER

James Callow Keyword(s): TRANSFORMATION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Baptism Naming rite
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Werewolf Vampire

Date learned: 04-00-1972

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WHEN A WOMAN IS SEPARATED, DIVORCED OR ESTRANGED FROM HER HUSBAND
AND HE DIES, SHE TAKES A RIBBON OFF OF THE FLOWERS ON THE FACE
OF THE COFFIN, AND HANGS IT ON HER DOOR, TO WARD OFF HER
HUSBAND HAUNTING HER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter

Date learned: 03-00-1970

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ELECTROCUTIONS

IT IS A COMMON BELIEF, REINFORCED BY MOVIES AND TELEVISION
SHOWS, THAT THE LIGHTS IN A PENITENTIARY DIM WHEN A CONVICT
IS ELECTROCUTED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Outlaw Criminal Bandit Pirate

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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POLISH FUNERAL

IN POLAND NO EMBALMING TAKES PLACE. THE DECEASED IS LAID OUT
FOR 3 DAYS IN THEIR OWN HOME.
CANDLES ARE SET AT THE HEAD AND FOOT OF THE DECEASED.
FLOWERS ARE THEN ARRANGED AROUND THE CASKET, WHICH
IS SET ON A SMALL PLATFORM USED BY THE VILLAGE. THE CASKET IS
MADE OF VARNISHED WOOD, AND IS
USUALLY DECORATED BY FOLK ART COMMON
TO THAT REGION. THIS IS SOMETIMES DONE WITH STEEL
PINS TO OUTLINE THE
DESIGN OR IS PAINTED ON TOP OF THE CASKET. ON THE FOURTH DAY,
THE BURIAL TAKES PLACE. A PROCESSION FROM THE HOUSE TO THE
CHURCH FORMS WITH THE ALTAR BOYS
GOING FIRST. THE OUTSIDE BOYS CARRY
LIGHTED CANDLES, WHILE THE BOY IN THE MIDDLE CARRIES THE CRUCIFIX.
THEN THE PRIEST FOLLOWS, LEADING HYMMS FOR THE REPOSE OF THE SOUL.
A HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE FOLLOWS, CARRYIMG THE BODY OF THE DECEASED.
THE FLOWERS FROM THE HOUSE ARE PUT AROUND THE CASKET, AND THE REST
ARE PUT ON TOP OF THE CARRIAGE. MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY FOLLOW IN
ORDER OF RELATEDNESS TO THE DECEASED. EXAMPLE=HUSBAND AND KIDS
FIRST. A MASS IS SAID AT THE CHURCH FOR THE REPOSE OF THE SOUL.
ALL TRADITIONAL SONGS OF THE PARTICULAR REGION ARE SUNG. AT THE
END OF MASS, THE SAME PROCESSION IS FORMED IN EXACTLY THE SAME
ORDER AS BEFORE. AGAIN THE PRIEST LEADS THE MOURNERS IN LOCAL
HYMMS. THE CARRIAGE FOLLOWS WITH
THE MOURNERS BEHIND THE CARRIAGE.
AT THE CEMETERY, THE GRAVE HAS
ALREADY BEEN DUG, WITH THE PLANKS PLACED
ACROSS THE HOLE. THE PRIEST
SAYS THE RITUAL AND BLESSES THE
GROUND. THEN THE CASKET IS NAILED SHUT,
AND IS LOWERED INTO THE GRAVE.
THE RELATIVE CLOSEST TO THE DECEASED THEN THROWS THE FIRST HANDFUL
OF DIRT. THEN EVERYONE, IN FAMILY ORDER, THROWS A HANDFUL OF
DIRT. EVERYONE LEAVES IN ORDER TO GIVE THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY A
CHANCE TO PAY THEIR FINAL RESPECTS.

Submitter comment: VARIOUS ASPECTS OF THIS FUNERAL CHANGE FROM REGION TO REGION.
ATTENDED FUNERAL AS SUCH MYSELF WHILE IN POLAND

Where learned: POLAND ; CHELMNO

James Callow Keyword(s): NUMBER ; SYMBOL

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 07-00-1971

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SLOVAK FUNERAL CUSTOM

AFTER COMING BACK FROM A FUNERAL TOUCH A STOVE, WASH YOUR HANDS,
AND SAY "GO TO HEAVEN".

Submitter comment: JOHN MIHAL
LEARNED THIS ITEM FROM HIS FATHER'S PARENTS WHO WERE
SLOVAK IMMIGRANTS. THEY NOW LIVE IN ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): FUNCTION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails

Date learned: 10-15-1975

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SLOVAK FUNERAL BELIEF

NEVER BURY ANYONE UNTIL AT LEAST THREE DAYS AFTER DEATH, BECAUSE
IT TAKES THE SOUL THAT LONG TO REACH HEAVEN.

Submitter comment: JOHN MIHAL
LEARNED THIS ITEM FROM HIS FATHER'S PARENTS WHO WERE
SLOVAK IMMIGRANTS. THEY NOW LIVE IN ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 10-15-1975

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LEGEND

THERE IS A CATHOLIC CEMETERY IN TOLEDO, IT,S THE BIGGEST CEMETERY
IN TOLEDO. IN THE MID 20S, WHEN GYPSIES WERE STILL A BIG THING,
THERE WAS SUPPOSEDLY A GYPSY QUEEN THAT DIED. SO THE GYPSIES HELD
A BIG BURIAL FOR HER, WITH ALL THE RITES AND FEASTS AND PARTYING-
DOWN. THEY INTERRED HER BODY IN A BIG MAUSOLEUM WITH BEAUTIFUL
STAINED GLASS WINDOWS. THE QUEEN HAD DIED IN CHILDBIRTH. SO ANYWAY
THERE ARE SPECIAL NIGHTS EVERY MONTH' I DON,T KNOW WHAT THE NIGHTS
ARE, WHERE YOU CAN SUPPOSEDLY SEE THE SHADOW OF A WOMAN WALKING A
CHILD AND HEAR A CHILD CRYING. ONE NIGHT MY DAD TOOK ME TO THE
CEMETERY. AGAINST THE FLICKERING LIGHT OF CANDLES, I SAW THE SVELTE
SHADOW OF A WOMAN PACING BACK AND FORTH AND HEARD A BABY CRYING. WE
WENT BACK THE NEXT DAY. THE MAUSOLEUM HAD GATES WHICH CLOSED OFF
THE FRONT, AND HUGE IRON DOORS WHICH WERE SHUT. WE CHECKED THE
GATES AND THEY HAD BEEN WELDED OR RUSTED SHUT, SO THERE WAS NO WAY
ANYONE COULD GET INSIDE.

Submitter comment: IF THE INFORMANT SAID HE SAW THE SHADOW AND HEARD THE CHILD, HE DID.
HE IS NOT GIVEN TO EXAGGERATING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; CAMPUS

James Callow Keyword(s): BELIEF

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
PROSE NARRATIVE -- B439
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

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